brethren have done grievously, they have rebelled and have attacked
their father's house and their loyal brothers. They must be
punished and brought back, but this necessity breaks my heart." in April
"... this I
conceive to be no time to prate of moral influences. Our men’s nerves
require their accustomed narcotics and a glass of whiskey is a powerful
friend in a sunstroke, and these poor fellows fall senseless on their
"What armies and
how much of war I have seen, what thousands of marching troops, what
fields of slain, what prisons, what hospitals, what ruins, what cities
in ashes, what hunger and nakedness, what orphanages, what widowhood,
what wrongs and what vengeance."
"While our soldiers
fight, I can stand and feed and nurse them. My place is anywhere
between the bullet and the battlefield.
"Faint is the echo; but it is coming; we
now hear it sighing sadly through the pines, but it shall yet break in
thunder upon the shore - no north, no west, no south, but the United
States of America" - from a speech at the raising of the U.S. flag at
Fort Sumter on April 14, 1865
mistaken. I can carry that flag myself from the Mississippi all over the
rebel States, alone and unarmed, too."
||"I never saw
such fighting as was done by the Negro regiment. ... The question that
negroes will fight is settled; besides they make better soldiers in
every respect than any troops I have ever had under my command."
James Blunt after the Battle of Honey
not know it themselves, what were their lofty deeds of body, mind, heart
and soul on that tremendous day."
"But we had with us, to keep and care for, more than five
hundred bruised bodies of men, men made in the image of God, marred by
the hand of man, and must we say in the name of God."
"(Combat) makes bad men worse and good men better."
driving us mad. He don't say a word - no order, no hint of where
we're going." - upset that Stonewall Jackson kept even his day-to-day
plans secret from his officers
"People who are anxious to bring on
war don't know what they are bargaining for; they don't see all the
horrors that must accompany such an event."
"The men of that
command will be proud one day to say to their children; 'I was one of
the Stonewall Brigade.' I have no right to the name Stonewall. It
belongs to the brigade and not at all to me."
pass over the river and rest under the shade of the trees."
"My duty is to obey
belief teaches me to feel as safe in battle as in bed. God has
fixed the time for my death. I do not concern myself about that,
but to always be ready, no matter when it may overtake me."
"I do hope that the
war will soon be over, and that I shall never again be called upon to
take the field." - Letter to wife, Mary Anna, on April 11, 1862.
"I think we know
what military fame is: To be killed on the field of battle and have our
names spelled wrong in the newspapers."
"There is many a boy here today who looks on war
as all glory, but boys, it is all hell."
"The scenes on this field would have
cured anybody of war." - William T. Sherman in a letter to Ellen on
April 11, 1862
"War is cruelty.
There is no use to trying to reform it. The crueler it is, the
sooner it will be over." - before the March to the Sea campaign
"To new soldiers,
the sight of blood and death always has a sickening effect, but soon men
become accustomed to it, and I have heard them exclaim on seeing a dead
comrade borne to the rear. 'Well, Bill has turned up his toes to the
"If you don't have
my army supplied and keep it supplied, we'll eat your mules up, sir." -
before the Atlanta campaign
"You cannot qualify
war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot
refine it; and those who brought war into our country deserve all the
curses and maledictions a people can pour out." - letter to the city of
"The whole army is
burning wit an insatiable desire to wreak violence upon South Carolina.
I almost tremble for her fate." - preparing to lead his army into South
Carolina after the March to the Sea."
"I don't believe I will draw anything for them but
salt." - commenting on the ability of his troops to steal what they
needed during the march through Georgia
"The only principle in this war is which party can
whip. It is as simple as a schoolboy's fight and when one or the
other party gives in, we will be the better friends." - in a letter to
politician James Guthrie of August 14, 1864
"Like one who has
walked a narrow plank, I look back and wonder if I really did it." -
writing to his wife, Ellen, about his march through Georgia
"Every attempt to
make war easy and safe will result in humiliation and disaster."
"I will accept no
commission that would tend to create a rivalry with Grant. I want
him to hold what he has earned and got. I have all the rank I
want." --- in a letter to his brother Senator John Sherman in 1865.
go back and do your duty, as I have done mine, and our country will be
safe. Go back, go back... I have rather die than be whipped".
"It is well
that war is so terrible--we should grow too fond of it."
"Still a Union that can only be maintained by swords and bayonets, and
in which strife and civil war are to take the place of brotherly love
and kindness, has no charm for me".
"Do your duty in all things. You can not do more. You should never wish
to do less".
"I have been up to see the Congress,
and they do not seem to be able to anything except to eat peanuts and
chew tobacco, while my army is starving."
"You are better off than I am, for
while you have lost your left, I have lost my right arm." - in a
letter to Jackson on May 4, 1863
"I am now considered such a with my shadow, the doors of those I love,
lest I should bring upon them misfortune." - months after surrender at
||"It don't hurt
a bit to be shot in a wooden leg." - After being hit in his wooden leg
John B. Gordon
"The art of war
is simple enough. Find out where your enemy is. Get at him as soon as
you can. Strike him as hard as you can, and keep moving on."
"Yours of this date proposing Armistice
and appointment of Commissioners, to settle terms of Capitulation, is
just received. No terms except an unconditional surrender can be
accepted. I propose to move immediately upon your works."
Lincoln, I have had enough of this show business." - declining an
invitation to attend a White House party in his honor so he could return
to the front
"I have been a soldier all my life. I
have commanded companies, I have commanded regiments. I have commanded
divisions. And I have commanded even more. But there are no fifteen
thousand men in the world that can go across that ground."
"I would not give the life of a single
soldier of mine for barren victory."
"If you surrender, you shall be treated
as prisoners of war, but if I have to storm your works, you may expect
“Charge ’em both ways!”
will water our horses in the Tennessee River."
Albert S. Johnston before the Battle of Shiloh
"Sending armies to McClellan is
like shoveling fleas across a barnyard. Not half of them get
are green, it is true; but they are green also. You are all green
“As I would not be a slave, so I would not be
a master. This expresses my idea of democracy.
Whatever differs from this, to the extent of the difference, is
not democracy.” - August 1, 1858
"In the present civil war it is quite possible
that God's purpose is something different from the purpose of
either party. - September 1862
torpedoes! Captain Drayton, go ahead! Jouett, full speed!"
"Everybody has a weak spot, and the first thing I try
to do is find out where it is, and pitch into it with the biggest shell
or shot that I have, and repeat that dose until it operates."
||"They couldn't hit an elephant at this
John Sedgwick, before he was
killed by a sharpshooter at Spotsylvania
"Damn you, gentlemen, I see skulkers. I'll have none here. Come on,
you volunteers, come on! This is your chance. You volunteered to
be killed for love of country, and now you can be. You damned volunteers
- I'm only a soldier and I don't want to be killed, but you came to be
killed and now you can be!"
"Battle is the
ultimate to which the whole life's labor of an officer should be
directed. He must live to the age of retirement without seeing a
battle; still, he must always be getting ready for it exactly as if he
knew the hour of the day it is to break upon him. And then,
whether it come late or early, he must be willing to fight - he must
"The quarrel between
the North and South is, as it stands, solely a fiscal quarrel"
||"Come and help me take that position or
stay back and watch men who will."
Major John Shropshire, just before he was shot between the eyes
at thee Battle of Pigeon's Ranch, New Mexico
||"Who would be free themselves must strike
the blow... I urge you to fly to arms and smite to death the power that
would bury the Government and your liberty in the same hopeless grave.
This is your golden opportunity."
||"The Rebel army
is now the legitimate property of the Army of the Potomac"
"In the time that I am writing every stalk of corn in the
northern and greater part of the field was cut as closely as could have
been done with a knife, and the slain lay in rows precisely as they had
stood in their ranks a few moments before. It was never my fortune
to witness a more bloody, dismal field." --- at Antietam
Union General Joseph Hooker, just before he was
soundly beaten at Chancellorsville
||"Will the slave
fight? If any man asks you, tell him 'no' But, if anyone asks you, will
a Negro fight? Tell him yes!"
||“Descended from a long line of
illustrious warriors and statesmen, Robert Edward Lee added new glory to
the name he bore, and, whether measured by a martial or an intellectual
standard, will compare favorably with those whose reputation it devolved
upon him to sustain and emulate…”
Commenting on Robert E. Lee in a post-war article for the North American Review
“All we ask is to be let
“Our present political situation has been achieved in
a manner unprecedented in the history of nations. It illustrates
the American idea that governments rest on the consent of the governed,
and that it is the right of the people to alter or abolish them at will
whenever they become destructive of the ends for which they were
established.” --- inaugural address
our duty to keep the memory of our heroes green. Yet they belong
not to us alone; they belong to the whole country; they belong to
"The man and the hour have met."
- William Yancey introducing Davis to a crowd in Montgomery, AL on
February 16, 1861